Because Rainbows Don’t Last.August 18, 2014 at 6:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
Well, my plan to de-stress at the lake worked. Enough that my MIL actually commented to me, You seem so much more relaxed this year.
I journaled, and I disconnected from social media, and drank coffee and watched the stillness of the lake in the early mornings, and ran relaxed vacation miles, and sat in an inner tube in the water, and ate and drank and SLEPT. After the first night there, anyway – since I don’t sleep well the first night anywhere – I slept pretty damn well.
The week was gorgeous – the one day where it rained buckets even ended with a brilliant double rainbow.
By the Saturday morning we had to leave, I felt calm and centered and balanced. It’s been so long since I’ve felt STILL, where I haven’t felt that tightness of anxiety in my chest and stomach. It was wonderful. I sat outside, in my pajamas, with my cup of coffee, and savored the stillness – both in the lake AND inside me.
And then we came home and unpacked and I did 50 loads of laundry and made a menu and had to go food shopping and went to a birthday party for our friend and cleaned and Happy came home and Charlie mowed the lawn and I went through mail and put out all the bills that need to be taken care of this week.
So by last night all that calm, that stillness I remembered was gone. Poof.
Rainbows don’t last, and peace is fleeting.
I want to find that stillness again, though. In my everyday life.
* * * *
I’m not sure where I heard about the book, but when I saw the title I knew it was something I needed to read. The title alone made me want to read it. The Great Work of Your Life: A Guide To The Journey of Your True Calling.
For someone like me, who is struggling with career and happiness and wanting more out of my life and wondering if it’s even worth trying to find another career or stick with the one I’ve got… it’s a great book.
And as I was reading, a quote jumped out at me:
“If you don’t find your work in the world and throw yourself wholeheartedly into it, you will inevitably make yourself your work… You will, in the very best case, dedicate your life to the perfection of your self. To the perfection of your health, intelligence, beauty, home, or even spiritual prowess. And the problem simply is this: This self-dedication is too small a work. It inevitably becomes a prison.”
YES. Holy crap, yes. That is my life right now – improving myself, my marriage, my parenting. I’m the worst kind of perfectionist – not believing I can ever BE perfect but trying to be better than I would be if left to my own devices. It’s like I have too much energy and am looking for ways to expend it.
I want to love what I do. I want to feel like the work I do MEANS something.
I have long said that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, that I don’t really know what I want out of my life. I’ve also said that the reason I got my MBA and CPA was because my father challenged me (no joke, when I told him I was trying to decide between getting my MBA and going to law school he laughed and said to me, You? With a MBA? You can’t get a MBA. At least, that’s my memory of it. It’s likely he never said that I couldn’t get a MBA; because wow, that would be a mean and awful thing to say.), and I wanted to prove him wrong.
Last week, in the stillness I felt, when I really looked inside myself, a thought struck me. When I was younger, I loved playing music, reading, and writing. And my father told me that none of those three loves were practical for a career, too.
So why didn’t I take that as a challenge, like I did with his comment about the MBA?
The only thing I can come up with right now is that it has to do with fear. I didn’t care about law school or getting my MBA the way I cared about writing or playing my clarinet.
I think I was afraid of failing at something I loved to do.
* * * *
So I came home from this week with a renewed commitment to writing more. I started a journal last week, and I’ve decided to get up an hour earlier every morning so I can write in my journal. I want to post more here, too. But I think I’m also going to register for a creative writing class at the local community college this winter, too.
The fact is, though I loved writing as a child and teenager, I know nothing about the craft of writing and I’m not at all certain about whether or not I CAN write anything worth anything.
(I do know, though, from some of the books I’ve read/listened to, that you don’t actually have to be a good writer to get published, though.)
Practically speaking, I’m definitely not in a place right now where I can just quit my job and leave. I think that I’ll have to keep doing what I’m doing until another path becomes clear to me. Maybe it’ll be with writing, or maybe it won’t.
But that’s okay. Because right now I’m listening to what my whole self is telling me, instead of allowing my mind to convince me that I’m being selfish and ridiculous and just be quiet, Serenity, you have a great life.
I want more from my work.
I know that rainbows – and the stillness and clarity of vacation – isn’t long lasting. But I have the idea that if I keep listening and not judging myself for the way I feel (and others, too), maybe I can find a place where I can reach that stillness no matter what’s going on around me.
It’s worth looking for, at any rate.